Tom Wilhelmsen Rumors
Earlier today, the Mariners released Jason Bay after the outfielder hit .204/.298/.393 in 68 games for the club. Meanwhile, the Rangers announced that Colby Lewis will undergo hip surgery that will end his 2013 season. Here's more out of the AL West...
- The Mariners recently demoted struggling closer Tom Wilhelmsen to Triple-A Tacoma, and MLB.com's Greg Johns tweets that the team is going to experiment with him as a starter. Seattle isn't officially announcing that Wilhelmsen will convert to a starting role at this time, but he did start for Tacoma today with unsuccessful results. Wilhelmsen allowed three runs on three hits (two homers) with four strikeouts in two innings.
- Justin Smoak's turnaround has transformed him from one of the Mariners' problems to part of the solution, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. The Mariners still have plenty of decisions on their hands this offseason to produce a winning season, however, he adds.
- The Angels have called up infielder Grant Green in place of Daniel Stange and inserted him into the lineup, tweets Angels director of communications Eric Kay. Green, a former first-round pick, was acquired from the Athletics for Alberto Callaspo last week in a rare intra-division trade.
- In an appearance with Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio, Rangers GM Jon Daniels shot down previous reports that the team was willing to trade Matt Garza for a bat. He also said reports that the team wouldn't welcome Nelson Cruz back in 2014 after accepting his 50-game suspension were inaccurate (Twitter links).
The Mariners are in active trade discussions involving closer Tom Wilhelmsen and reliever Oliver Perez, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Orioles are actively pursuing Perez and Mike Morse, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, and would like to acquire both. The Rays are interested in Morse, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Here's a look at the latest news from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..
- Mariners reliever Oliver Perez has drawn interest from the Orioles, Braves, and other clubs, according to Heyman. Perez has reinvented himself as a bullpen arm in the last two years with the Mariners, posting a 2.00 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 across 63 innings in Seattle. Competing execs note that Perez is more cost-efficient in terms of prospects and cash than a guy like Matt Thornton. The veteran would cost another team the prorated portion of his $1.5MM for the rest of the year.
- Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez could also bring a strong return to General Manager Jack Zduriencik & Co and the Rays are among the clubs that have inquired on their hitters. However, parting with them would cause them to go into a free fall and also adversely affect the top prospects on the big league roster. For his part, Jack Z isn't anxious to move anyone. "We'll see how this week goes. I'm not going to be the aggressor,'' the GM told Heyman earlier this week. "I'm not shopping anyone.''
- Seattle people have been wondering if the Yankees might call about Morales thanks to their rash of injuries. The Rangers could also come calling.
- A Mariners person said they've gotten calls on injured center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, but his injury history hurts his value. Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has drawn interest and the Red Sox have had interest in the past, but Zduriencik is said to be hesitant to trade him since he's under control for a few more years. Brendan Ryan, who is no longer the starting shortstop, could also be of interest to someone as a defensive specialist in the infield.
- Opinions are mixed, but one rival executive tells Heyman that Phil Hughes could fetch quite a bit in a trade. Another rival exec quipped that the Bombers might trade Joba Chamberlain for a pine-tar rag. We learned earlier today that the Yankees are aggressively pushing both pitchers.
Ken Rosenthal's latest column for FOX Sports begins with a look at the Phillies, Giants, Rockies, Padres, and Blue Jays, five teams currently on the bubble of buying and selling. The Padres have been eager to buy, rival executives tell Rosenthal. Other notes from the article:
- Rosenthal provides insight into the July 2011 three-team deal that sent Erik Bedard to Boston. As it turns out, the Dodgers are looking pretty good now with big leaguers Stephen Fife and Tim Federowicz. At the time of the deal, they were questioned for including Trayvon Robinson.
- "I thought it was an awesome trade by the Cubs," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis told Rosenthal of Chicago's acquisition of Jake Arrieta from Baltimore.
- The Reds have "thinned out their talent base" in trades over the last several years, opines Rosenthal, which could make significant acquisitions this summer difficult.
- The Rangers and Yankees are among the teams that have expressed interest in Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano. Ruggiano, a 31-year-old right-handed hitter, is at .225/.290/.414 in 273 plate appearances this year.
- The Mariners have put a high price tag on Tom Wilhelmsen and it seems like they want to keep the closer in the fold. Rosenthal notes that another team recently asked about Wilhelmsen and the M's wanted that club's top pitching prospect in return.
Here are a few trade notes from around the American League:
- As we approach the trade deadline with the Mariners looking more like sellers than buyers, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times took a look back at GM Jack Zduriencik's recent history at the deadline. Beginning with an ill-fated swap of a young Michael Morse for Ryan Langerhans and featuring the retrospectively painful Doug Fister deal, the net return to Seattle has not been terribly productive.
- This year, the Mariners could be in a position to deal some relievers. Last night, we took a look at FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal's breakdown of potentially available NL relievers. Tonight, let's look at the AL crop. From the M's, Rosenthal says that veteran lefty Oliver Perez is the most likely to be dealt, with Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen also prime candidates. The latter two, however, will likely command a high price given that Furbush may just be reaching arbitration after this season as a Super Two, while Wilhelmsen will not reach arbitration until after the 2014 campaign.
- Rosenthal also pegs the White Sox and Astros as sellers with attractive bullpen pieces. Chicago could swing a trade for stud reliever Jesse Crain if he can return in time to prove his health; otherwise, both Matt Thornton and Matt Lindstrom could hold some appeal. (Both of the latter two pitchers come with club options for 2014.) For Houston, meanwhile, the prime trade chip among its relief corps is unquestionably closer Jose Veras, who is cheap, strikes out a lot of hitters, and has been solid in late-inning work this year.
- One other team that should look to the future, according to FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, is the Blue Jays. With the club again fading after its recent resurgence, Morosi says Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos faces a "virtually impossible" task to right the ship before the trade deadline. Rather than selling out for this season, says Morosi, the Jays should look to shore up the team's rotation to make a run in 2014 and 2015.
- Sticking with the Jays, Morosi says that Josh Johnson -- occasionally noted as a potential trade candidate earlier in the year -- has been "perhaps the team's greatest disappointment this year." Johnson currently carries a 4.89 ERA in 53 1/3 innings; his walk rate is below his career average at 3.4 BB/9, though he is striking batters out at a strong 9.1 K/9 clip. At this point, Morosi suggests, Toronto may be best served by shipping Johnson back to the National League rather than looking to try and bring him back next year.
Happy birthday to Rangers manager Ron Washington, who turns 59 years old today. Let's celebrate by taking a look at some items from Washington's division...
- Daric Barton admits that he has been thinking about his multiyear contract negotiations with the Athletics, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's always in the back of your mind," Barton said. "It's not something you like to think about, but realistically, it happens." We heard about these negotiations last month, with MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noting that Barton's walk-heavy production could make him a bargain for the A's if they choose to go to arbitration with the first baseman.
- The Angels are integrating young players into their lineup while still remaining competitive in the AL West, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- Mike Trout is having a nice season at Double-A Arkansas, but ESPN.com's Jason A. Churchill predicts Trout will only reach the majors in 2011 if the Angels want to give him a few token at-bats in September. Churchill speculates that Trout might skip Triple-A altogether and potentially make the Angels out of Spring Training next year, or at least be in the majors by May 2012 (or after next year's Super Two cutoff date).
- Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports profiles Mariners right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen, who made his improbable Major League debut this season after spending five years away from the sport.
If you're in the Northeast, here are some links to check out while you take a break from shoveling...
- ESPN's Jayson Stark ranked baseball's ten-year contracts, with Derek Jeter's soon to be completed ten-year, $189MM deal coming in as the best.
- The Marlins agreed to one-year contracts with 12 of their pre-arbitration eligible players according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, including Sean West, Chris Volstad, Emilio Bonifacio, and Dan Meyer.
- Brewers owner Mark Attanasio confirmed that he will be involved in long-term contract discussions with Prince Fielder, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter). Haudricourt also tweets that Attanasio and GM Doug Melvin met today to discuss the situation and there will be no deadlines imposed on the 25-year-old.
- Rich Aurilia, who stopped by the Giants' camp today, says that while he's still looking for a job, he will retire if he doesn't have one by the end of spring, tweets Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse. The 38-year-old has a broadcasting deal in place if he is unable to find a job on the field.
- Shin-Soo Choo says that he would like to stay in Cleveland long-term, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. Choo, like Morales, cut ties with his former agent (Alan Nero) in favor of Scott Boras.
- Michael Weiner, the executive director of the players' union, confirmed that the union is participating in an investigation into alleged unauthorized withdrawals from Kendry Morales' bank account by a former employee of his former agents, Hendricks Sports Management (Bill Plunkett of the OC Register reporting). Morales recently dropped HSM and hired Scott Boras.
- Bernie Miklasz of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides a few quotes from Albert Pujols about his contract situation. "Do I want to do this right now and take care of this so we don't need to worry about it? Of course," said Pujols. "If it happens, it happens. But there are some things I am able to control and there are other things that are out of my hands that I can't control. And that's the truth."
- The Mariners signed righty Tom Wilhelmsen to a minor league contract, according to Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times. The 27-year-old had been out of baseball since 2005 because of substance abuse issues, though he resurfaced with an independent league team last season.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a report indicating the the Orix Buffaloes are moving towards a deal with Freddie Bynum. The White Sox released Bynum last week so he could pursue opportunities in Japan.
- Meanwhile, Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Felipe Lopez will provide the Cardinals with a great amount of flexibility.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post calls the contracts of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia and other Yankee players "time-bomb contracts."
- John Tomase of The Boston Herald says the Red Sox have a deep bench with Mike Lowell, Bill Hall, Jeremy Hermida, and Jason Varitek.